Volunteers Cleaned the Santa Barbara Harbor
Volunteers gather behind debris pulled from the seafloor at 2017 Clean Sweep event (Photo: City of Santa Barbara Photo)
The seafloor in any busy harbor may be littered with lost or discarded junk, impacting the environment just like litter on land. Ever wonder, “What’s down there, where does it come from, and does anybody ever clean it up?”
Santa Barbara Harbor’s Operation Clean Sweep, a seafloor debris cleanup program, held its 12th annual event on Saturday, May 5th. A team of volunteer divers, supported by 40 or so volunteer dock workers, removed junk from beneath Marina 2.
Divers located the junk and dock volunteers carted it off for disposal. The event began at 8:00 a.m., with a briefing on the Travel Lift Pier beneath the Harbormaster’s Office, complete with free coffee and donuts, and concluded with a hearty box lunch at 11:30 a.m.
During past events, volunteers like these—many of them “Clean Sweepers” from the start—removed a total of 19.2 tons of debris from Santa Barbara Harbor. Items retrieved during past years ranged from bicycles, barbeques, plastic barrels, and boat propellers to outboard engines, phones, computers, and the occasional marine battery.
The City of Santa Barbara’s Waterfront Department joined volunteers from NOAA, SB Maritime Museum, Santa Barbara Channelkeeper, SB Sail and Power Squadron, Santa Barbara Surfrider Foundation, Channel Islands Marine & Wildlife Institute, and harbor dive businesses in this effort.